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Rolling Reactions: The Car Chem Quiz
by Staff
Cars reveal a thing or two about chemistry, and we have the quiz to prove it. So hop in, buckle up and let's see if your car chem knowledge leaves you looking like Greased Lightning or blows up in your face.

Which well-known gas law explains why car manufacturers recommend adjusting the pressure of your tires before you start on a trip?

  • Amontons' law
  • Boyle's law
  • Gay-Lussac's law

Speaking of pressure, let’s say the volume and pressure in one of your tires falls to zero. What's the outside temperature?

  • minus 273.16 degrees Celsius (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit)

Quick! What chemical process is used to make modern rubber tires?

  • electrolysis
  • photosynthesis
  • vulcanization

Who discovered the process by which tires could be manufactured?

  • Charles Goodyear
  • Harvey Firestone
  • Joseph Priestley

What’s the main chemical constituent of tire rubber?

  • nucleotides
  • elastomers
  • polypeptides

What would an exacting chemist call a car battery?

  • lead-acid storage battery
  • long-life alkaline battery
  • rechargeable lithium ion battery

How many cells does a car battery typically have?

  • two
  • six
  • 12

Each cell in a car battery contains two types of plates. What chemicals make up these plates? (Hint: Remember what the exacting chemist calls a car battery.)

  • iron and iron oxide
  • lead and lead dioxide
  • silver and silver oxide

What serves as the electrolyte in a car battery?

  • amino acid
  • hydrochloric acid
  • sulfuric acid

When your car rusts, it falls victim to an electrochemical process known as corrosion. What's the chemical name of rust?

  • aluminum oxide
  • calcium oxide
  • iron oxide

High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps have become popular recently on U.S. cars. What noble gas is used in these lamps?

  • argon
  • krypton
  • xenon

What type of "fuel" does the Honda FCX Clarity, a fuel cell electric vehicle, use?

  • hydrogen
  • oxygen
  • silicon

You saw this one coming. Which two chemicals react to produce the electricity in a fuel cell vehicle like the Honda FCX Clarity?

  • carbon and oxygen
  • helium and oxygen
  • hydrogen and oxygen

So what kind of chemical reaction takes place inside a conventional car engine?

  • combustion
  • oxidation
  • synthesis

What's the oxidizing element in a gasoline engine?

  • hydrogen
  • neon
  • oxygen

What's the job of a catalytic converter?

  • convert pollutants into less harmful emissions
  • convert rainwater into hydrogen and oxygen gas
  • convert waste motor oil into diesel fuel

A catalytic converter gets its name because it contains two primary catalysts. What’s a catalyst?

  • a substance that has no effect on a chemical reaction
  • a substance that may slow down a chemical reaction
  • a substance that may speed up a chemical reaction

In a catalytic converter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are transformed into these two chemicals:

  • methane and hydroxide
  • nitrogen and oxygen
  • water and carbon dioxide

When an airbag deploys, what gas fills the bag?

  • hydrogen gas
  • nitrogen gas
  • oxygen gas

How many chemical reactions occur to inflate an airbag?

  • one
  • three
  • seven